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Just like the topic says.

How do I make it so that the identity of the 'murderer' isn't a dead give-away?

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  1. Have multiple suspects. Introduce a variety of characters who all have a motive and the means to commit the murder.

  2. Have everyone act suspicious. When everyone is honest except the murderer, it will be obvious who done it. That means that other suspects also need a reason to do suspicious things, like lying to the detective, making evidence disappear, forging evidence, intimidate (or even kill) witnesses or collude with other suspects.

Now the question is, why would the innocent behave so uncooperatively? The usual reason is because they also have something to hide:

  • Maybe they committed a minor crime or moral transgression unrelated to the murder and are afraid that the detective's investigation will reveal it too.
  • Maybe they want to use the opportunity to frame someone they dislike for the murder.
  • Maybe they want to protect the actual perpetrator (or someone who they think is the actual perpetrator).
  • Maybe the initial murder was just the tip of the iceberg and some of the suspects are part of a much larger conspiracy.

Revealing these sub-mysteries will be required in order to reveal the main mystery, and can make for interesting sub-plots.

  • All very fine points! Thank you for taking the time to answer my question! – Jack Rabbit May 7 '17 at 16:49

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